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Syracuse women’s basketball falls to Wake Forest, 65-60

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The Orange freefall continues.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Louisville at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team lost its second straight game on Sunday, dropping a 65-60 game to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons down in Winston-Salem, N.C. With the defeat, SU falls to 9-10 on the year (3-5 in ACC play). It’s also the fourth loss in five games for the Orange after what appeared to be a strong start in the conference.

For Syracuse, the struggles came from an uneven offense and inaccuracy from outside. The Orange started off down 19-16 after one quarter, but were up 30-28 at the break despite hitting just four shots in the second quarter. Wake regained the lead with a 19-14 run in the third, then held off ‘Cuse late to keep the five-point win.

Syracuse hit just 6-of-22 threes (27.3%), and three of those came in the final quarter, while Wake managed to sink 7-of-14 from beyond the arc. Just two Orange players scored in double digits on the afternoon, led by Kiara Lewis with 17 and Emily Engstler with 14. Gabrielle Cooper scored nine, but no one else tallied more than six points.

One could potentially attribute the Wake Forest win to the advantage at the foul line, too. Syracuse committed 21 fouls, versus 13 for the Deacons, leading to a 20-to-11 free throw advantage for Wake. The Deacs hit 16 of those, while SU was just 8-of-11 from the line. Again, not the only reason for Wake’s win, but certainly plays a role in five-point victory. Perhaps more importantly, Lewis was the only Orange player to attempt more than one foul shot. If shots aren’t falling from outside, it certainly behooves this — or any team — to drive the lane and try to pick up points at the line.

As mentioned, that makes four losses in five tries for Syracuse, as they’ve been free-falling in the last couple weeks and are going to struggle mightily to make the Big Dance short of a deep ACC Tournament run — or at least an extensive run to end the year. Four of the Orange’s next five games are at the top half of the league, so if they have a shot at getting back into the postseason conversation, it’s pretty much now or never.